Report from Sarah Fuller:
I enjoyed a wee sojourn across to the lakes today for the RAB mini mountain marathon. 140 runners enjoyed a chilly but largely cloud free day out in the central fells. The mini mountain marathon follows the same score format as its 2 day big brother but condensed into a frantic 4 hour dash. Score format means you have a set time limit to collect as many points as you can (with checkpoints worth differing points values usually depending on how far away they are or how big a hill they are up) with severe penalties for being late back.
I drove across early Sunday morning to HQ at the sticklebarn in great langdale. The event area spanned a wide area around the central fells and both sides of the langdale valley- no easy climbs there then! I ‘dibbed’at the start with some hesitation as I hadn’t run a navigational event since October and I felt a little rusty – it showed almost immediately! I felt a bit slower with my decision making and was stopping more often to consult the map more than usual but it was a glorious day and I thought I’d planned a pretty awesome route for myself (never mind if it would score a lot of points!).
I headed steeply out of langdale first climbing a little way up stickle Gill then traversing round under dungeon Gill and picking up the gimmer crag track to gain the height. A couple of checkpoints done I’d hit the high plateau and picked off controls near Harrison stickle and the the far side of thunacar knot. A few silly frustrating nav blips but nothing too serious and I headed round towards a control on the side of Rossett pike followed by a right old slog up to the summit of bow fell (a little Bob graham knowledge was advantageous here and I overtook a few folk by using the BG route!) which was in the clag (seemingly only for the short time I was up there!).
My Route then took me towards crinkle crags before dropping steeply towards langdale and picking off some time consuming controls high on the side of crinkle crags (including a pretty terrifying scramble into crinkle Gill!). Again I seemed to do a lot of dithering over my route choice which was annoying but no major dramas and I finally hit the valley bottom for a frantic run back to HQ via a wee 10 pointer not far up the blea tarn track. I knew I was pushing my luck with this last one but what the hell I went for it and ran as fast as I could back to base (frustratingly via about 300 stiles and gates!), it soon became apparent I would be late but how late was the question – a final push and I finished just over 3 minutes late (thus incurring a 4 minute penalty – doh!). That 3 minutes turned out to be significant as the first 3 ladies were separated by just 4 points! Given my recent form I wasn’t expecting much from the race apart from a lovely run but to come so close was a bit annoying! In the end I took 3rd place with 226 points (2nd V40) and 33rd overall so well chuffed with that (140 ran). The race was won by the legend that is steve birkenshaw with about 3 million points. Dorothy pelly (Ambleside) took the top spot for the ladies with 230 points. This is a great intro to a mountain marathon without all the hassle of tents etc and with a great course, quality map and meal at the finish for £18 a total bargain too. Results are here: